A wild 3-2 game in the driving snow saw Bayer Leverkusen pick up a critical three points in the battle for a Champions League place, but it didn’t come without some luck.
Well, a lot of luck.
Thanks to the significant snowfall, Hannover was denied a wide-open goal in the 33rd minute. Goalkeeper Michael Esser pumped the ball forward, straight to Japan international Genki Haraguchi streaking behind his defender. Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky came off his line to challenge, but Haraguchi rounded him easily and punched the ball towards the open net.
Then a funny thing happened. The significant snow buildup slowed the ball as it raced toward the net, stopping it inches before crossing the goal line. Bayer defender Jonathan Tah was able to collect the stopped ball and clear it off the line, preventing Hannover from breaking into the scoreline.
Haraguchi looks certain to score but the snow literally stopped Hannover 96’s ball from going in the empty net.
The weather continued to affect the game even after that. It snowed so much that the game had to be stopped eight minutes later so the grounds crew could clear enough to see the lines.
While Hannover would eventually draw back level at 2-2, the visitors won it late as Kai Haverts would deliver Bayer all three points. That drew them within four of Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for the final Champions League place, while Hannover remains in a relegation position in 17th, five back of 16th-placed Stuttgart.